Geneva: Tibetan Community of Switzerland and Lichtenstein (TCSL) observed the first death anniversary of Tibet’s longest-serving political prisoner Takna Jigme Sangpo on Saturday, 2 October. A prayer service honouring the deceased was organised at the Tibet Institute Rikon.
The prayer service was attended by Kalden Tsomo of the Tibet Bureau Geneva; President and Vice President of the Tibetan Community of Switzerland and Lichtenstein (TCSL) Karma Choekyi and Tenzin Wangdu; Swiss-based former Europe members of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, representatives from Swiss-Tibetan Women’s Association, Association of three provinces of Tibet, Tibetan Youth Association-Europe, representatives from Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association and members of the Tibetan community including former Tibetan political prisoners.
The prayer service was led by Venerable Abbot Geshe Thupten Legmen of Tibet Institute Rikon and the monks residing at Tibet Institute Rikon.
Takna Jigme Sangpo passed away on 17 October 2020. He had been living in Switzerland since receiving political asylum in 2003, a year after serving 37 years in a Chinese prison. Takna Jigme, a primary school teacher by profession, was initially detained and charged “corrupting the minds of children with revolutionary ideas”, in 1960. At the age of 42, he was re-arrested and sentenced to ten years imprisonment under alleged charges of “counter-revolutionary” propaganda in 1970. Since then, Takna Jigme had been re-arrested and jailed for various prison terms subjected to prolonged solitary confinement eventually resulting in 37 years in a Chinese prison. Due to sustained efforts and advocacy pressing the Chinese government for his release, Takna Jigme Sangpo was released on medical parole in 2002.
The Tibetan Community of Switzerland and Lichtenstein had undertaken all necessary Buddhist rituals including funeral service, weekly prayers culminating to the 49th-day prayer service as well as observing the first death anniversary, in honour of Takna Jigme Sangpo.